About William Hobbs
William Hobbs, husband of Deliverance MNU and father of Abigail Hobbs (c.1675), was from Casco, Maine, the frontier of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, during a time when there were many attacks by the Wabanaki Native Americans. Due to the many attacks in the area, the family had relocated to Topsfield, on the edge of Salem Village.
William and Deliverance Hobbs were not church members and their daughter, Abigail, had a reputation for being wild, apparently roaming the forests at night, and described as being irreverent and disrespectful. She would brag that she was not afraid of anything and was known to mock the holy sacrament of baptism by sprinkling water on her mother’s head and reciting the appropriate words.
All three were accused of being witches by Marcy Lewis, who was also from the same area in Maine. Seventeen year-old Abigail Hobbs was the first arrested on 18 April 1692, and her parents were arrested three days later. For a while, Abigail professed her innocence, but after a time, her resistance and her will were broken by the harshness of the proceedings and she began to confess to practicing witchcraft by afflicting Mary Lewis, acted as a witness against her parents, and made accusations against others including John Proctor.
Deliverance Hobbs, about 50 years old at the time of the trials, also confessed to practicing witchcraft and even acted as a witness against her husband, who never swayed from his claims of innocence. Despite the circle of accusations in the family, all three Hobbs managed to avoid hanging. In 1710, William Hobbs, petitioned the General Court to compensate him for £40 expenses that the family's imprisonment cost him but said he was willing to accept £10.